Monday, September 28, 2009

How I spent my Sunday

This past Sunday, I had an amazing experience in Discovery Park, Seattle, WA!  First introduced to me by Binkle, was concept of MovNat, the brain child of Erwan Le Corre.

With my increased interest and along with others (#1#2, #3) in Vibram Five Finger training, I came across a natural fitness program geared towards reconnecting with nature and finding a "context" in which to train.

What I, and ten other gentlemen learned from this 6 hour clinic with Erwin enlightening:

First: The philosophy of MovNat depends on finding situations that are adaptable and that require focus.  Prior to MovNat, I could be found in the IMA gym working out on Life Fitness Strength training machines while listening to my favorite NPR podcast.  With these machines, I could follow my progress and chart my total reps, weight, and the last time I isolated a specific muscle group.  However, with this training regiment, I became dependent on the machines, and the machines only helped me to lift more weight in one particular motion. Learning from the MovNat philosophy, if I broadened my mind and the context in which I trained in, I could work more muscle groups, faster, and more efficiency.  Plus, I could apply my efforts to a multitude of different situations, and I wouldn't be limited to just the repetitive movements on a pulley system.

Second: It's OK to be lazy.  In fact, it's encouraged!  Body weight exists because of gravity, but it doesn't have to slow you down.  By utilizing the principles of "body weight transfer" and "body weight shift" one can use gravity to improve movement, balance, climbing, and positioning during a training exercise.  Our "lazy training session" consisted of learning how to use minimal strength to climb a tree limb by developing a body weight transfer from our two handed grip, to a three point system = adding a leg! Then, using a body weight shift and swinging our free leg and allow the momentum to rotate and propel our body around the tree branch. Success!

Third: Creating context helps focus, increased motivation, and makes training fun!  In a jumping exercise, the group focused on limiting our landing and take off points - as if we were jumping from small ledges and avoiding clefts down a mountain side.  In our climbing example, it was important to focus on our
"body intelligence" and know when to have our arms tightened, and when to have them relaxed and ready for movement and action. 

Lastly: Running is the ultimate training activity.  Think about it - you rarely "walk for your life," or "bike for your life," but perhaps to a slightly more extent you can "swim for your life," but you always "RUN FOR YOU LIFE!"  With increased focus and attention to running, it's possible (and preferred) to use gravity to propel yourself forward.  Using your legs to catch yourself in mid fall.  Again, with a body weight shift, minimal muscle movement and energy is needed to run.  This concept can be used in other situations as well to increase efficiency.

Other activities we covered in our MovNat clinic included principles of Throwing/Catching, Balancing, and Lifting.  Each of these single topics could have been covered exclusivity in just one clinic and by the end, we would have only learned the basics behind each movement.

11 + 1 at the end of MovNat training.

Several of us have expressed a continued interest in training together and have created the Seattle-area barefoot & Five Fingers running group and the Seattle Natural Movement group, both on Facebook.  All are welcome and encouraged to join either group and to find out more information if so desired.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Alex

Monday, September 21, 2009

Trip over love, you can get up. Fall in love and you fall forever.

This month has been interesting with 1) two weddings in 4 weeks, 2) the grooms were childhood neighbors from Murrysville, PA (my home town, just outside of Pittsburgh) and 3) I was able to reconnect with an old high school friend at each wedding.  

Men always want to be a woman's first love. Women have a more subtle instinct: What they like is to be a man's last romance.  -Oscar Wilde

Mike Pritts and I at his wedding reception!

"I dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance,
A church filled with family and friends.
I asked him what kind of a wedding he wished for,
He said one that would make me his wife.
- Author Unknown

Reconnecting with Sandip at Mike Pritts and Mandy's wedding!

You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find a handsome prince. - Unknown

So.... at Pittsburgh weddings, everyone and their mother brings in dozens of cookies.
Guest are required to take home a goodie bag.
I think it's a Polish thing...

Marriage is the only war in which you sleep with the enemy. - Unknown

Tim Chan and Julie at their wedding ceremony.

"Marriage is like pi - natural, irrational, and very important" - Lisa Hoffman

Allen Chang, Tim Chan and I at the reception lunch!

To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. - Bill Wilson

A great view in Dana Point, CA from Tim's wedding.

Grow old with me! The best is yet to be. ~Robert Browning

For those of you who are as "vexed" as me about the search for your sole mate, thank goodness we don't always look like this guy:

Entitled, "The vexed man."
From the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA

There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved. - George Sand

Ladies, try not to avoid cupids talent when he come to visit!

"You don't marry someone you can live with, you marry the person who you cannot live without." - Anonymous

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Alex

Friday, September 18, 2009

That's So Seattle - #1

Food trucks made to look like the pork is sells.

Actually I really miss seeing and eating "street meat" from trucks parked on the side of the road.  I was first addicted to the concept in medical school at Temple University, where there would be about a half dozen or so shiny clad trucks lining Broad Street, awaiting the break from lecture.

Lunch was a blessing with choices of burgers, Middle Eastern food, fruit salads, Chinese, etc...

Sadly, both Pittsburgh's West Penn Hospital and Cincinnati's Children Hospital had a void of street meat vendors.  :-(

Maybe out here in Seattle, I'll rekindle my love!

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Alex

Friday, September 11, 2009

15 minutes... 5 minutes... no 4 seconds of fame!

Yup!  That's how I spend my Thursdays in Seattle.  :-)

Thanks Komo!

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Alex

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Science Behind "The Way to Hook the Ladies"

The August 29th, 2009 edition of The Economist had a short, less then two column, blue back grounded article in their Science and Technology section entitled "Mr Muscle." This article explored one possible reason for sexual selection in humans and "the price and privilege of beefcake."

Starting off the article reads: "Why are men's muscles so much bigger than women's?"  And then proceeds to jump right into the evolutionary process and historical acceptance that all men are fighters and hunters, and we need to chase after big animals and then wrestle them down to the ground!  [OK, the last notion was added by me.]

But, maybe more importantly, "women like men who can do these things well, and thus are attracted to muscular men."  Hence why last week I decided to take a look at the Ballard LA Fitness, Signature Gym.

What I really found out was that "Signature Gym" mean a $150 initiation fee followed by a $55 (discount rate b/c I "work at Seattle Children's Hospital") monthly fee.  This does get me "all states, all gyms" access, body lotion in the men's shower area, and free towels at the gym.  However, as Cat pointed out to me last week over dinner, "The towel bins are always empty in the evening."  Sad. :-(

Back to the article.  "Resources get piled into [muscles], almost regardless of the consequences," and further goes on to state that "the more muscular a man, the more sexual partners he reported."  And offered up a humorous (hopefully) answer to the increase in number of life time and past year sexual partners, that "muscular men [are able] to intimidate 97 lb weaklings."

Overall the trade off for increasing the number of sexual partners comes at a price of a man's immune system which is "less effective than those of women (which was known before), and become[s] worse the more muscular the men are (which was not [known])."

Thankfully, "modern medicine... means the hulk's weakened immune system is less likely to expose him to lethal infection."

Thank goodness! Now I can safely check out the UW Intramural Gym this coming week!

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Alex

BTW, did I mention the article had a photo of shirtless man fishing with the tag line "The way to hook the ladies?"

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Alex

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Is the UW U Pass worth it for me?

After finally acquiring my UW Faculty ID badge, I learned that I was eligible for a discounted bus, light rail, and SLUT public transportation pass, dubbed the "U-Pass."

Now, I'm not a daily rider, and I wouldn't take the bus to work. I can walk to most places I want to eat and visit. If I can't walk, I can run, and if I really want to expand my horizons I should just bike there. :-)

Well.... I went for the $398.00 U-Pass, good through June 30th 2010. So now I posed the challenge to myself, if this was really worth the decision.

In order to accomplish this, I fully extended and embraced my geekness and created an Excel Spreadsheet (along with a graft to track my progress.)

I hope to periodically update my readers as to my acceptance or dissapointment with my decision. As of now, I've used 4 $1.75 rides with my U-Pass, bringing my cost to $391.00 for those rides.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Alex

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Exertps from my Google Reader today.

If only 10000000000 kisses could make everything better everywhere... Thanks Found!

The Fake Doctor and I appear to have similar dreams about women when we're on call and holding a pager...

The Guild is back in action with Season 3! Thank you Felicia Day!

I had TGI Friday's last night!

Have you ever seen such a great movie about garbage?

And of course the Google Gmail Apology for last night's mishap.

Thanks for reading,